Like many young Australians, Perth-based Wei Lieh Goh had always dreamed of travelling overseas.
But it wasn’t pulling pints in backpacker bars that eventually took him to the bright lights of New York and London — it was an affinity for numbers and a hard-earned Chartered Accountant accreditation.
Goh enrolled himself in the CA program immediately after graduating from the University of Western Australia’s three-year Bachelor of Commerce program with a double major in finance and accounting and a minor in business law.
He was working as an accountant at the time.
“I wanted to become more specialised as an accountant, and also wanted to attain a designation that is widely recognised,” Goh said.
“Working full-time and having to commit the majority of your spare time to studies is difficult but ultimately rewarding.”
Goh later moved into the local office of an international mining company, where he learned just how much profit and loss and other balance sheet figures mattered to corporate financial management.
He left Australia for the UK soon after completing the three-year CA program and spent the next four years working in investment banking.
“My last experience working in London was at Bear Stearns,” he recalled. “It was a bittersweet working at a bank that survived the Great Depression which became a victim of the Global Financial Crisis.
“During [my time in London] I learnt a great deal of how the banking industry worked, as well as learning how to structure some complex derivatives.”
Goh’s investment banking job took him to various cities in Europe and the US, where he witnessed first-hand how work environments differed across borders and how each city had “a different vibe”.
He has since returned to Australia and now works at construction giant Leighton Contractors — although the travel bug hasn’t gone away.
“If the opportunity came up for an international posting, I would definitely consider it,” he said.
“I have had a very fulfilling career to date and my plans for the future are to take on roles that will continue to challenge me. I am open to the idea of further studies.”
Goh observed that he had taken on more fulfilling roles with more responsibilities as his career progressed. Although that would have happened naturally as he gained industry experience, he said the CA qualification gave him a leg up and a confidence boost.
“Leighton Contractors is a very enjoyable work environment,” he said of his latest role.
“Month ends are very structured and involve analysing projects and overheads, and preparing financial and management reports. During the month there is great variety, all efforts involve providing the projects with as much support to enable successful delivery.”
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.